Posted by Raza Rumi
At PTH, we have struggled to retain the balance between politics, history and arts and culture. However, given Pakistan’s turbulent politics and security, it has been an uphill task. We are now inviting new writers to come and express themselves at PTH. Especially since the explosion (pun intended) of Pakistani fiction at a global scale. We are printing a story by Hamza Rehman who is a an Esquire based in Islamabad. Hamza is a practising lawyer who moonlights as DJ for Pakistan Broadcasting Association’s Planet FM 94, where he hosts the Alternative Rock and 80’s shows. He freelances for The Friday Times and pens fiction as much as he can. He primarily writes about characters in Islamabad and experiments heavily with metaphor. The Solidity of Things is his debut short story.
Hope the readers would enjoy this rather bold, avante garde story.
“… but they sprawled from another country, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and the rest.
Islamabad is Pakistan’s first city.”
The billboard outside the Daewoo Bus Station introduced Islamabad as a new sentence to passengers arriving from Lahore. The other cities trailed off from another paragraph – divided India. Yes of course, Ahmed thought, Islamabad was post partition. The 1960’s. Ahmed sat in his jaundiced Suzuki FX that peeled silver rust at places. Through the tempered glass the weather shone warm with grim April yellow. Ahmed tried to make out if his maternal cousin, Haroon, had arrived.
Islamabad was roadblock central now. Blockades were a zipper formation and the ITP an ever vigil martinet on Fridays. Ahmed remembered a conversation with Usman: “Ahmed, solid terrorism, or manifest terrorism, isn’t the Islamabad Marriot burning the fuck down.” Taking a drag of his Gold Leaf, Usman had pithily said, “It’s the insecurity that follows”, in a wisp of solid smoke and truth. Continue reading
A short story contributed for the Pak Tea House by Salman Masood
We planned to go watch a movie that evening. Perhaps we should not have considering that it was the first time we were meeting. But Hasan sounded interesting enough during the few times we had talked on the phone. He intrigued me. A common friend had introduced us. I was not looking for a fling or a casual acquaintance. Talking with him suggested he had the same ideas.
I had broken up with my fiancé almost six months back. Perhaps it was still too early to look for a life partner. When I met Fahad three years ago, I resigned to the thought that my search for matrimonial bliss, no matter how clichéd it sounds, had ended. Our families had known one another for decades. His father and mine had been school fellows in Lahore. Fahad was an investment banker, based in Dubai. He appeared a bit gruff initially but I thought, like my family, that he would be like his father who was a sweet, gentle soul. But Fahad had a fiery temper. He was possessive and overbearing. He would call me from Dubai often and sometimes at odd hours; inquire where and with who I was. It suffocated me. I thought after marriage he will chain and shackle me. I don’t like restrictions and boundaries. I have been fascinated with the vastness of the blue sky. Opting out was the only option.
Hasan told me he would pick me at 9:30 p.m. I felt a surge of excitement within me. I called Ayesha, our mutual friend. I asked her if there was something important I should keep in mind. Does he like a specific color? Should I wear a sleeveless shirt or was it too early for that? Should I wear heavy make up or would I look too pretentious. Should I keep my hair tied or let them fall down? Should I wear some ethnic jewelry, a necklace of stones or just an elegant gold chain? I eventually decided to wear a black long shirt with little embroidery. Continue reading
by S Adil Shah
It was a prominent private hospital where people from every nook and corner of the country would come to seek a cure to their ailments. The news of Mr. Abdullah’s kidney transplant surgery spread in the area like a wild fire.
On the day of the operation the hospital was filled by a multitude of people, notwithstanding the efforts of the security personnel to check their inflow. Complete disorder prevailed in the hospital. Relatives, intimate friends, acquaintances and business colleagues of Mr. Abdullah rushed towards him to embrace, hug and encourage him not to lose heart just when he was heading from ward towards the operation theater.
“Don’t worry man! It’ll be a matter of minutes and Dr. Tariq’s genius in such cases is known the world over,” a friend tried to encourage a paling Mr. Abdullah who was further disturbed by a paging voice coming out of the roof right above his head. Continue reading